Julian Mohr Interview

By Rahul Acharya | Sept. 27, 2016, 12 a.m. (ET)

Julian Mohr (Germany)

One of the perks of playing at Westchester Table Tennis Center is the opportunity to meet top talent from all over the world. The club has previously drawn star players from Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and of course, North America. This summer, visiting us was 21-year- old Julian Mohr of Germany. Originally from Neckarsulm, Julian now lives in Frankfurt where he plays in the German 3rd league.

Over the couple of weeks that Julian was here, I got to know him well. While I was surely impressed with Julian's game, I was equally impressed with his friendly nature and character. He was always willing to help out players of all levels, play matches with them, and answer questions on technique and tactics. Even though Julian was very competitive, he always exhibited great fairness and sportsmanship, something that is, unfortunately, not always easy to find nowadays.

I asked Julian a few questions about his table tennis journey. I hope you enjoy getting to know him!

Quick facts about Julian:
Highest USATT rating 2653
NSU Neckarsulm, 3rd (2015 - present)  
TTC Ober-Erlenbach (2nd, 3rd, and 4th) and 3. Bundesliga (2011 - 2015)      
TG Obertshausen: Oberliga, 4th and Regionalliga, 3rd (2009 - 2011)
TSV Nusplingen, Cadet and Junior Divisions (2001 - 2009)    
Former member of German National Cadet Team   

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Julian Mohr of Germany, former member of German National Cadet Team
With Julian Mohr at Westchester TTC

1. Is this your first time in the U.S.? What brought you here and how did you like what you see in terms of table tennis?
Yes, it is my first time in the U.S. I am a professional table tennis player, and after my season was over, I had time, so I decided to travel the world with the goal of improving my English. Table tennis in the U.S. is totally different compared to Germany, but I like it. One big advantage in the U.S. is that you can go to the club every day. That is sometimes not possible in Germany.

2. How did you find out about Westchester TTC?
I found the Westchester TTC on Facebook. I wrote to Will Shortz, and then, we planned the trip.

3. Soccer (football) is probably the most popular sport in Germany. Tell us how you got started with table tennis. How old were you and who introduced you to the sport?
I was 6 years old when I started. My parents introduced me to table tennis because in the past they were good table tennis players. My entire family (siblings, uncles, cousins) plays table tennis, so I grew up in a table tennis family. I played on the German National Cadet Team, and consistently finished in the top 8 at the Junior Trials. 

4. What equipment do you use?
Blade: Stiga Clipper Wood
Forehand rubber: Stiga Calibra LT Plus Max
Backhand rubber: Stiga Calibra LT Max

5. How often do you play and train? What other exercises do you do to stay in shape for table tennis?
I have played everyday since the age of twelve. After my graduation from school, I started to play 10 times a week. I often go to the gym because in the last couple of years table tennis has changed. Physical fitness is now more important than before.

6. What are your short-term and long-term goals with regards to table tennis?
My short-term goal is to go up to the second league with my team. My long-term goal is to play at a high-level for the next 25 years.

7. Honors and accomplishments that you are most proud of?
The Hessischer Table Tennis Federation gave me a fairness award at the state championships in 2014. During one of my matches, it was a very close situation. And while the umpire didn't see the ball touch the table, I told him that the ball was on the table and not out. To me, fair play is the most important thing in sports. I don't like winning ugly! 

8. What is the most memorable match that you have ever played? Why? 
It was the Quarterfinals of the Men's Doubles at the 2014 German Championships. There were close to 3000 spectators, and we won 4:3. In Singles, I would say my 3:1 victory against Ricardo Walther (world ranked #90). This is the best player that I have beat so far.

9. Who is your favorite international table tennis player? Why?
My favorite players are Xu Xin and Timo Boll. Xu Xin has a very strong forehand. I really like Timo Boll's style and have had the opportunity to practice with him a couple of times. 

10. In my opinion, you’ve had great performances in your U.S. tournaments. How do you feel about it? Did you meet or exceed your expectations?
Yes, that's right. I am very proud of that. It was a great experience for me.

11. Before playing a tournament, some players scout their opponents by watching their previous matches on video, etc. You really didn't have that opportunity because you didn't know whom you would be playing. Can you share some coaching advice on how to play opponents that one has never seen or played before?
Before the match starts, warm up with the opponent. During the warm-up, you can somewhat evaluate his game. During the match, try out a few things, such as push long into the corner and into the middle, and see how it works. Keep the game simple in the beginning so you can get a sense of their style, strengths, and weaknesses.

12. What do you like to do when you are not playing table tennis?
I like to spend time with my friends, and play other sports such as badminton and beach volleyball.

13. What is your favorite American food?
I have to say burgers :)

14. Germany is one of the few countries that has succeeded at rattling China’s dominance. What do you attribute that success to?
I think Germany is lucky to have very good players in one generation (Boll, Ovtcharov, Steger and few more). They all don't come from the German system, but rather from parents or a coach who did everything for them. In my opinion, Germany will face some problems standing up to China after this generation, unless new talent is developed.

15. Do you think with enough hard work any one can become good, or is some amount of innate talent required?
I think hard work is a key ingredient to be successful! One has to stay focused and give it one's best to reach set goals. In my opinion, anyone can become very good, but without talent, there will be a limit. It may not be possible to become a top world player. 


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Julian, thanks for your time, and good luck with the upcoming season! Hope to see you back at Westchester next year.